National colours of Italy
The national colours of Italy are green, white, and red, collectively known in Italian as il tricolore (the tricolour). In sport in Italy, azure has been used or adopted as the colour for many national teams, the first being the men's football team in 1910.
The tricolore was symbolically important preceding and throughout the Risorgimento leading to Italian unification. In September 1794, Luigi Zamboni and Giambattista de Rolandis created a flag by uniting the white and red of the flag of Bologna with green, a symbol of liberty and hope that the populace of Italy join the revolution begun in Bologna to oust the foreign occupying forces. This tricolore was considered a symbol of redemption that from its creation was "consecrated to immortality of the triumph of faith, virtue, and sacrifice" of those who created it.
Napoleon Bonaparte, in a letter from Milan to an executive director on 11 October 1796, stated that the Legione Lombarda had chosen these colours as the national colours. In a solemn ceremony at the Piazza del Duomo on 16 November 1796, a military flag was presented to the Legione Lombarda, which would become a unit in the Cisalpine Republic (1797–1802) military, and was the first tricolore military standard to fly at the head of an Italian military unit. The first official Italian flag was created for the Cispadane Republic (1796–1797) in Reggio Emilia on 7 January 1797 based on a proposal by government deputy Giuseppe Compagnoni.
The formation of the Cisalpine Republic was decreed by Napoleon on 29 June 1797, and consisted of most of the Cispadane Republic and Transpadane Republic (1796–1797), which included between them Milan, Mantua, the portion of Parma north of the Po river, Bologna, Ferrara, and Romagna, and later the Venetian Republic. Its flag was proclaimed to be the tricolore, representing the "red and white of Bologna and the green of liberty".
Young Italy, a political movement founded in 1831 by Giuseppe Mazzini calling for a national revolution to unify all Italian-speaking provinces, used a "theatrical" uniform based on the national colours. These colours had been in use in the Cispadane Republic, Transpadane Republic, Cisalpine Republic, Italian Republic (1802–1805), and the Kingdom of Italy (1805–1814), precursors to the modern state. During the formation of the Roman Empire of 1814, the foundational constitutional basis specified that the three national colours would be preserved.
The colours have been used for political purposes.
During his visit to London on 11 April 1864, Giuseppe Garibaldi was greeted by a throng of people at the train station, many of whom carried Italian flags. English men dressed in red shirts commonly worn by Garibaldi's followers during his Mille expedition to southern Italy, and women dressed in the national colours of Italy. Italian flags could be seen throughout the city. In 1848, Garibaldi's legion dressed in red shirts with green and white facing.
In 1868, two years after the Austrians departed Venice following the Third Italian War of Independence, the remains of statesman Daniele Manin were brought to his native city and honoured with a public funeral. He had been acclaimed president of the Venetian Republic of San Marco by residents of Venice after a revolt in 1848. The gondola carrying his coffin was decorated with bow "surmounted by the lion of Saint Mark, resplendent with gold", bore "the Venetian standard veiled with black crape", and had "two silver colossal statues waving the national colours of Italy". The statues represented the unification of Italy and Venice. The funeral procession was described as "magnificent". His remains are interred at the Basilica of Santa Croce, the first person buried there in over 300 years.
An apocryphal story about the history of pizza holds that on 11 June 1889, Neapolitan pizzamaker Raffaele Esposito created a pizza to honour Margherita of Savoy, who was visiting the city. It was garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil to represent the national colours of Italy, and was named "Pizza Margherita".
In 2003, the government of Italy specified the colours using Pantone. The new specification was demonstrated on sample flags displayed at Palazzo Montecitorio; they had a darker tint than the traditional colours, described as having a deeper green, a red with "ruby hues", and ivory or cream instead of white. Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, president of the Federation of the Greens and a member of the Chamber of Deputies, stated that Silvio Berlusconi had achieved a "chromatic coup d'etat". Government officials stated that the sample flags did not conform to the "specified chromatic specification". The values were revised after discussion, and in 2006 were decreed by law in Article 31 of Disposizioni generali in materia di cerimoniale e di precedenza tra le cariche pubbliche ("General provisions relating to ceremonial materials and precedence for public office", published 28 July 2006 in Gazzetta Ufficiale) for polyester fabric bunting to use the following Pantone Textile Colour System values:
|Pantone Name||Pantone Number||RGB||CMYK||HSV||Hex|
|Fern Green||17-6153 TC||0-146-70||100-0-100-45||149-100-057||#009246|
|Bright White||11-0601 TC||241-242-241||0-0-0-0||120-000-095||#F1F2F1|
|Flame Scarlet||18-1662 TC||206-43-55||0-100-100-0||365-079-081||#CE2B37|
The national colours are specified in the Constitution of Italy to be used on the Flag of Italy, a vertical tricolour flag of green, white, and red. It is also used on the cockade, another of the national symbols of Italy. Its use of the national colours was the antecedent for its use in the flag.
The Presidential Standard of Italy is the flag used by the President of the Italian Republic, the nation's head of state. It is based on the square flag of the Napoleonic Italian Republic, on a field of blue charged with the coat of arms of Italy in gold.
On 31 December 1996, legislation was passed (legge no. 671) instituting 7 January as national flag day, known as Festa del Tricolore, and was published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana three days later. Its purpose was to celebrate the bicentennial of the establishment of the Italian flag on 7 January 1797. The most important of these celebrations is that at the Sala del Tricolore ("Room of the tricolour") in the commune palace of Reggio Emilia, and a solemn changing of the guard at the Quirinal Palace in Rome, followed by a parade of the Corazzieri and a brass band fanfare by the Carabinieri Cavalry Regiment.
In football, the winners of Serie A are the Italian football champions, which entitles the winning team to adorn the jersey of each of its players with the scudetto, an escutcheon (heater shield) of the Italian flag, the subsequent season. The practice was established in 1924, after Gabriele D'Annunzio had wanted to put a shield flag on the uniforms of Italian military commanders during a friendly match. The league operators state that it is "representative of national unity at the level of football". The winner of the Coppa Italia is entitled to adorn its team jersey with a tricolour cockade for the subsequent season.
After having played its first two international matches in white in 1910, the men's football team announced its new uniform on 31 December 1910, an azure shirt with an escutcheon of the Italian colours, and white shorts. Widespread opinion was that the blue colour had been chosen as an homage to the House of Savoy that had previously ruled parts of northern Italy until the nation's unification. The uniform was first worn on 6 January 1911 in a match against Hungary in Milan.
In sport, many men's national teams are known as the azzurri and women's teams as the azzurre (meaning "azure"). These include the men's basketball, men's football, men's ice hockey, men's rugby league, men's rugby union, and men's volleyball teams, and the women's basketball, women's football, women's ice hockey, and women's volleyball teams.
The Frecce Tricolori, the aerobatics demonstration team of the Italian Aeronautica Militare based at Rivolto Air Force Base, are so named for the green, white, and red smoke trails emitted during performances, representing the national colours.
The name of Italia Peak, a peak in the Elk Mountains of Colorado in the United States, is derived from the display on one of its faces, when seen at a distance, of "brilliant red, white and green colors, the national colors of Italy".
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